For those of you that do not like lemon flavored baked goods, I sincerely apologize. I realize that I have posted quite a few of them as of late. I promise that this will be the last one for a while. Also – for those of you (like Frank from The Happy Rock) who are looking for some real food (man cannot live on baked goods and muffins alone!) those recipes are on their way as well! Thank you all for your patience.

As for today’s recipe, I received an email from “KC”, who wrote “I’m looking for a lemon-ricotta muffin recipe; I got one from a bakery that was really lemony with a bit of ricotta filling that was out of this world… but cannot find a recipe done light anywhere. Could you help?”

Well KC, I did my best. Unfortunately, I have never had one from a bakeshop, so I do not have a great point-of-reference. I will, however, tell you that these muffins are absolutely delicious. As a matter of fact, a friend told me that they were “the best muffins she has ever tasted”. Wow, talk about a compliment! I’m not sure if this is exactly what KC had in mind, but I hope that it at least comes close.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar (and an additional tablespoon for sprinkling on top, if you desire; many people also liked them with slivered almonds – instead of the sugar – placed on top of the batter prior to baking.)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fat free ricotta cheese

1/3 cup skim milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel (more, if you would like them really lemony)

juice from one lemon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and generously spray a 6 cup jumbo (or 12 cup standard) muffin tin with nonstick spray (or line with paper baking liners).

In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta, milk, applesauce, eggs, lemon juice, lemon peel, and vanilla; whisk well until blended.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients; stir until just moistened (the batter will have lumps – resist the urge to over-mix!! When you overmix ANY reduced fat baked goods, they will come out “tough”).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon sugar over muffins, or lightly press in the slivered almonds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.) Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove and allow to cool slightly longer out of the pan before serving.

Makes 6 jumbo (or 12 standard) muffins. Per jumbo muffin: 254 calories, less than 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 31 g carbohydrates, 5.5 g fiber, 3 g added sugar, 8 g protein, 117 mg sodium, 28 mg cholesterol

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